Through three quarters the sibling skirmish being waged on the Metrodome turf between Chiefs cornerback Dale Carter and Vikings wide receiver Jake Reed had remained a stoic affair. As often as not on Sunday, Carter, 26, would draw his older brother in man-to-man coverage, jamming or grabbing Reed, 29. Carter had made a pest of himself, as little brothers are wont to do, but at least he had kept his mouth shut.
Until the fourth quarter. With Kansas City leading 21-0, little bro began to woof. "Naw, big brother," Carter shouted as Reed lined up across from him, "I got things sewn up on this side. You best go to the other side of the field."
Let the record show that in Minneapolis, Carter, a two-time All-Pro, was clearly his brother's keeper. On 29 of the Vikings' 57 offensive plays, Carter lined up across from Reed. (They are full brothers, but their parents divorced in 1984, and Reed uses the maiden name of their mother, Pat.) Of those 29 snaps, 23 were passes, six of which were intended for Reed. None were completed: Two were uncatchable, Reed dropped one, Carter deflected two more and safety Mark Collins intercepted another. "Jake didn't see the ball much today," said Carter. "I got bragging rights for a year."
Carter has held bragging rights in this fraternity since 1992, when he was a first-round pick from Tennessee. That season Reed, who had been drafted out of Grambling in the third round a year earlier, had six receptions, whereas his precocious younger brother had seven interceptions and was named the NFL's Rookie of the Year. Even now, while Reed has emerged as a top receiver—he is one of only 12 players with more than 200 grabs since the start of the '94 season—Carter is encroaching on his turf, catching five passes as a part-time wideout himself.
"Jake is very laid-back, very mature," says Pat Carter of the second of her and Henry Dean Carter's five children. "Dale, you always had to keep an eye on him growing up."
And still do. Since May 1993, Carter has received one year's probation for driving while intoxicated in Kansas City; been arrested and released for his involvement in a shoot-out outside of a nightclub; and been convicted of assault in a bar fight and given a 180-day suspended sentence, two years' probation and 40 hours of community service. "I'd phone him and remind him that that's not the way Mama raised us," says Reed.
On July 12 Reed seemed poised to be able to keep even closer tabs on his little brother. The Vikings signed Carter, then a restricted free agent, to a reported three-year, $7.7 million offer sheet. Two weeks later Pat received a visitor at her home in Oxford, Ga.: Chiefs president Carl Peterson, who promised her that the team would look after her youngest son as well as Reed could in Minnesota. On Aug. 2 the Chiefs matched the Vikings' deal and Carter re-signed with Kansas City.
"So I guess Jake and I will only be on the same field at most once a year," says Carter. "Or maybe twice. If he makes the Pro Bowl."